Carla Kihlstedt sings and plays violin in 2 Foot Yard, an Oakland, Calif., trio that explores the space between experimental rock, jazz, folk, the American popular songbook, and chamber music. The band's new album, Borrowed Arms, is a jarring collage of quiet melodies and deafening dissonance. So it's no surprise that Kihlstedt (also a member of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat, and the Book of Knots) lists an eclectic selection of music she's been listening to recently.
Joan La Barbara (Morton Feldman, composer)
Three Voices for Joan La Barbara (New Albion, 1989)
I love anything that can so profoundly change my relationship to time. Anything. It could be watching the Night-Blooming Sirius bloom (yes, at night) on my parents' deck, which seems at once impossibly fast and achingly slow. Or it could be listening to Morton Feldman. Most composers write thoughts. He writes space that thought is contained within. You know that game that you may have played as a kid when you repeat a word over and over and over and over and over again until it reaches the blissful and absurd point of utter meaninglessness? Well there is no one I'd rather invite to perform that particular slight-of-ear-and-brain trick on me than Joan La Barbara.
Carnabailito (Nonesuch, 2007)
Gaby Kerpel is (one of) my hero(es). He is from Argentina. Suffuce it to say that I love this record. It is both hi- and lo-fi. It is both precise and wonderfully messy in all the right ways. It is full of life and spirit and spontaneity and curiosity. It makes you giggle. It is totally unpredictable, and it makes you wiggle. It seems in some strange way to be like a brother record to Fred Frith's Gravity, or perhaps even Speechless, two of my other all-time favorite records.
Winter Songs (Recommended Records, 1979)
What I'm currently listening to are often things that I am checking out either for research purposes, or things that I am learning or working on. Most recently, Art Bears' Winter Songs, a favorite of mine for 18 years and counting. I just performed this music last night at the Festival International du Musique in Victoriaville, Canada with Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Zeena Parkins, Jewlia Eisenberg and Kristin Slip. It was an honor, and totally ass-kickingly hard and fun in equal measure. Very, very deep music in every way.
The Tomato Collection (Tomato Music, 1994)
Nina Simone. Need I say more? She gave it everything she had, and more…quite literally.
Carla Bozulich and Nels Cline
Scarnella (Smells Like, 1998)
Two epic humans being epically human. I cry every time.